MP joins bid to save beer walk

Date published: 07 December 2011

CRISIS talks are being staged in a bid to reinstate the scrapped Saddleworth beer walk.

Round Table organisers have met Debbie Abrahams, Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, to discuss whether the popular event has a future.

The event, due to take place next June, was controversially axed last month when spiralling marshalling costs and an increasing number of disorder cases prompted a decision that dismayed thousands of genuine fundraisers

Dave MacDougall, Round Table’s beer walk chairman, said: “The talks with our MP were really positive. The committee is in the process of producing a ‘business plan’ to present to the safety advisory committee and the police, seeking help and advice on keeping the walk alive.

“We have already received offers of help from the local and wider community and would ask anyone who believes they can give us tangible support to talk to us.”

The walk raised £40,000 for charity this year, but a police officer was injured and organisers estimated up to 4,000 un-subscribed walkers tagged along, with some making personal gain from the kindness of charity givers.

Debbie Abrahams is now determined to help the committee come up with a solution.

She said: “Dave and the Round Table team are pulling out all the stops to come up with viable alternatives to help save a really important event which is, essentially, designed to raise money for charity.

“Clearly the main sticking point at the moment is the cost of policing, due to the influx of unruly participants who spoil the atmosphere. But all parties are willing to keep talking to see if it’s possible to create an event which preserves the great charity work of the Round Table.”

Organisers are keen to discourage any unofficial beer walks being staged should the official event not be reinstated.

Mr MacDougall stressed: “We do no want any unofficial beer walks taking place. This would be totally out of order and not in line with Round Table’s ethos over fundraising.”

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